Joseph C. Geraghty
Joseph C. Geraghty
Joe was born 11 Feb 1923 and reared in Evanston, IL. He graduated from high school in Jun 1941 and enlisted in the US Navy Reserve in their Aviation Cadet Program. After completing the required college he reported for Primary flight training in Dec 1942 at US Naval Air Station, Chicago (Glenview) Illinois. He soloed after five hours in the N3N Trainer. Mar 1943 he reported to USNATC Corpus Christi, TX for Advance training in the SNJ and Qualified for Carrier Landings on 22 Aug 1943. His Combat training was with Composite Squadron 51. After he completed his tour he reported on December 1943 to CVG-7, Bombing Squadron Seven, flying SBDs and SB2Cs. In June 1944, Bombing Squadron Seven reported aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hancock CV-19 with their SB2C-3s. By the end of August 1944 they were operating out of Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. Their first combat strike was at Okinawa Jima on Oct 10th 1944 where they lost McCallen. They hit Formosa, where Lutey was wounded in the leg. On Oct 13th Bevis was shot down. Next were strikes on Luzon, Negros, and Negros-Cebu (all in the Philippines). On Oct 25, they attacked the Japanese fleet off of Samar, Philippines. Eleven of the planes did not get back. After four or five days everyone but Robbie and Bruce was back. Bruce was listed as missing and Robbi was listed as KIA. On the 27th and 29th they hit Cavite and Manila Bay on the 20th and Bell was reported as missing. Returning from the strike at Manila Bay on the 29th, during a rain squall, a plane crashed on the deck of the Hancock and Joe could not land. He flew around until he ran out of gas and had to land in the water. He and his radio-gunner, Patterson, were picked up by the Destroyer Colahan. On this strike, Lt. Jg. J C Geraghty received the Navy Cross for his bombing skills. In his citation, 'He skillfully maneuvered over a Japanese cruiser, and plunging through a deadly barrage in antiaircraft fire from ships and shore batteries, scored a direct hit on the cruiser.' He told me that the bomb went right into the cruiser's smoke stack. The following are some excerpts from Joe's Aviators Flight Log Book. 'November 5th strike on W. Lipa Airfield, Luzon, Philippines jumped by 7 Oscars, but lost no planes. Nov 25th during the strike at Manila Bay hit by anti-aircraft fire at 7000 feet by a 40mm in the inboard right wing. The next strike bridges and railroad facilities near San Fernando, Luzon Philippines. Shipping west Coast of Luzon hit the Jap 'AK' (Cargo Transport) on Dec 15th and 16th. Lt. Cmdr. Erickson was killed when his plane went in on take off. From Jan 4th through the 27th, 1945 flew strikes on nine days. Shipping of French Indochina, Pescadores Islands, Hong Kong, Shipping and Docks, Strafing strike on Takao, Formosa. Jan 12th Virge Conway died of wounds he received a few days ago when F6Fs Guns went off. On the 16th, a strike on Hong Kong Kinsella, Kalos, Snead, and Maxwell were missing. Jan 26, CVG-7 RELIEVED!!! Hoo-ray!' Joe returned to the US for furlough and reported to NAS, Cecil Field, and Jacksonville, FL. Instructed and flight time from Apr to Sep, 1945 at Cecil Field. Joe was released from active duty in Oct 1945. In addition to the Navy Cross, he was also awarded the Distinguished Flying, 3 Air Medals, Asiatic Pacific with 5 Stars, and American Theaters, WWII Victory Medals. After the war, Lt. Junior Grade J C Geraghty served in the Naval Reserves until April 1947.